That supercharger lends the Yaris GRMN a completely different character from the turbocharged majority in the hot supermini class. Not only is it down on torque compared with the likes of the Cooper S 210 Works and 208 GTi 30th (which both offer 221lb ft) but it’s also more of a challenge to access what twisting power it does have considering it’s only available up at almost 5000rpm.
There’s a genuine need to really work the six-speed manual gearbox to keep the crankshaft spinning at its sweet spot, then. But because it’s a slick-shifting and precise ’box, and one that handles fast shifts easily and feels well capable of standing up to tough track-day abuse, this is a real labour of love. In fact, that the Yaris GRMN makes you sing for your accelerative supper only serves to further cement its positioning as one of the more involving hot hatches around.
That torque deficit doesn’t mean the Yaris is slow off the line, either. The performance figures we recorded on a drying track show a 0-60mph time of 6.4sec, which is one-tenth faster than the Peugeot and eight-tenths quicker than the Mini (which was, admittedly, timed in more slippery conditions). From 30mph to 70mph, the Yaris GRMN was also superior, clocking 5.4sec next to 5.8sec for the Peugeot and 6.0sec for the Mini.
It’s not the easiest car to get off the line quickly, though. There’s not as much mechanical grip here as you’ll find in some fast front-drivers, so you need to be sensitive with your throttle inputs in first and second gears. Get it right and you’ll be greeted by not only some seriously quick acceleration but also a properly intoxicating engine note. It’s a fairly harsh, unreconstructed-sounding engine, but its waspish and angry timbre complements this hot Yaris’s hardcore character very well and it is far preferable to the sonic fakery that often accompanies turbocharged motors.
Disc brakes (ventilated at the front and solid at the rear) provide the Yaris GRMN with plenty of stopping power too. Stamp on the middle pedal and the 1135kg supermini will come to a halt from 60mph in 2.89sec. Again, this betters the Mini and Peugeot.